SEAN MCDOWELL BLOG
3 Quick Reflections on Apologetics WorldwidePosted March 29, 2016 by Sean McDowell
Apologetics is growing internationally. Today I got an email from a minister in Ethiopia who is starting apologetics training in his country through the local church and national media. In our Biola M.A. Christian Apologetics program, we have students from New Zealand, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Australia, Latin America, and more. A few years ago, when I spoke in Canada, apologetics seemed to be a new venture, and there were little resources “on the ground.” But now there are multiple flourishing apologetics ministries, speakers, and bloggers from Canada who are equipping the church from within.
Recently, I returned from speaking at the first Reasonable Faith conference in Singapore, along with Dr. William Lane Craig and Jose Philip (Ravi Zacharias Ministries). Along with speaking at the conference, I also spoke at a local church, at Nanyang Technological University (NYU), and to the Singapore Cru team—all of whom were amazing hosts. There were about 400 people in the day RF conference and 600 and 800 for the evening sessions. Although apologetics is largely new in Singapore, it seems that it is beginning to take root.
Our conference sponsors seemed very pleased at the local interest and turnout and concluded, “The response to these events has confirmed the great need for apologetics in the church and on the campus in Singapore.”
While there are some unique cultural dynamics in Singapore, the church is largely dealing with many of the same big issues we deal with in the U.S. At their request, here are the talks Dr. Craig, Jose, and I gave at the conference:
Why is Apologetics Important?
Why did the Universe Begin?
Can We be Good Without God?
Ancient Texts in a Contemporary Context
What is Intelligent Design?
If God, Why Evil?
What Skeptics Wish Christians Knew
Is Faith Reasonable?
Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?
The Beauty of Intolerance
The RF conference committee sent me three interesting and thrilling observations from the conference, which I also pass on to you:
First, apologetics is particularly relevant to the younger generation. Half of the attendees of the Reasonable Faith conference were between 21-30, while another 20% of attendees were aged 20 and lower. This is indicative of the desire among the younger generation to understand why their faith is true.
Second, the appeal of apologetics is broad based. Interest in apologetics was not limited to certain denominations or churches, with attendees coming from over 100 churches, large and small, and even included Catholics.
Third, Christians have both apologetical and theological questions. In addition to questions on apologetics, many attendees had theological questions such as how human freedom and God's sovereignty could be reconciled, and how the death of Jesus was sufficient to satisfy God's justice and mercy. This is again indicative that many believers desire to understand how their beliefs are rationale and defensible.
It is an amazing time to be alive. We have more apologetics resources for the church than ever before. And the need has never been so great. If you love apologetics, and are looking for a niche, have you ever thought about serving overseas, or even supporting overseas apologetics ministries (like those above)? I know this is a radical calling, but there’s a huge need and few workers (Luke 10:2). The American church is nearly saturated with great apologetic material, but the need is tremendous worldwide. For the sake of the church, the wider culture, and non-believers who need a ready defense of the gospel, will you consider it?
Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.